When asking employees why they like working for a company, one of the most common refrains is “because of the people, my co-workers, we are like a family”. Any recruitment advertising copywriter can attest to this and, after reading such feedback in the creative brief, will promptly roll their eyes and then try to find a new way to “spin” this age-old sentiment.
“Join Company X, and you not only get a great job, but you also gain a family”
Trite as it may be, employees are expressing a sentiment that is widespread and based in truth. The workplace is a community. A community made up of people that you often see more than your own family. There is an undeniable group cohesion that resembles “family” that the work company-employee work contract generates.
When making a career choice, candidates are searching for information about a potential employer and if they will spend time to look for it. Use your career site as a venue to publicly display your community of passionate employees. Lead the search results by authentically communicating your employer brand and providing a window into the “employee-experience” on your career web site. Openly illuminate your employee-experience by incorporating social features into your corporate career web site and encouraging employees to participate in online communities where your candidates are spending their time. Don’t fight the decentralization of your employer brand… *enable it*.
Controlling the flow of information to employees, customers, partners etc, used to be easy with newspapers, TV, radio, print, email, and the like. Today, your brand is being watched, augmented, and de-located. People are writing their own stories, thoughts, ideas, and developing new products and services using social media technologies. These simple technologies and services: Blogs, Wikis, Forums, Tagging, Podcasts, and RSS are connecting people and information in new ways, conversations, faster than you can say oh shit. (via Advancing Insights).
Companies try to hide what it is *really* like to work for them like they are a secret society that you get to have no real knowledge of until you are accepted and initiated. There is the reality of a group being its own worst enemy, and a need exists to balance the idealistic view that companies will suddenly open up and allow completely public free speech, with the freedom and open spirit needed to create a thriving online community.
Effectively communicating what your company’s community believes in, and what it is driven by, will determine the kinds of people you attract and keep. When it comes to communicating what the real employee experience is and helping to foster a public online community that potential candidates can explore when researching your company – do not put your head in the ground and fear your employee experience being public – embrace it and handle it with grace.